Welcome to part 2 of the mini-series Make More Money with your site. In the previous blog post we spoke about how to build a qualitative ad landscape and gave some hands-on tips on how to maximize monetization by improving the site quality. In case you missed the post (or just want to recap) you can find it here.
Let’s jump over to today’s topic – User acquisition. User acquisition means activities you make in order to gain new users for your site, and getting new users is crucially important as you probably already know. With the risk of sounding harsh, your website is worthless (in terms of monetization) if nobody pays you a visit. The more traffic you have, the more money you typically make, but it’s not just as simple as that. The quality of your traffic also plays a major role in the CPM price advertisers are willing to pay for showing their ad. As a rule of thumb, users coming from a search engine are the most valuable, followed by organic visitors. Least valuable users are anonymous users who come through a paid/incentivized ad network. Search is king because they have a higher intent rate, meaning they come to your page because they are truly interested in your content and hence have a higher probability to be interested in the related advertisement.
We often get asked by smaller publishers how they could improve their traffic. There is no simple way to reach high amounts of (good quality) traffic. In today’s busy digital landscape the competition is crucial, but on the other hand, nothing is impossible if you know a thing or two. Let us give you some tips on how to attract visitors to your website.
1. Content Marketing
Content marketing is a great way to attract visitors to your site. New and exciting content that is up to date will gain attention and visitors. There’s a ton of different ways you can share content, but we focus on a few here. Below are our top visitor drivers that can change your traffic amount.
Blogging. Blabla you might think, tell us something we don’t know. You would think that everyone has a blog on their website today, but the truth is that the majority do not. There are not many things you can do to drive traffic that is as effortless and cheap as blogging. It’s a great way to share industry news, personal stories, showcase different content and media formats and drive organic traffic. Consistency is key when you decide to blog, people are expecting you to deliver regularly. You can get far with hot topics and mediocre skills in optimization. Search engines love blogs and will show gratitude, especially if you follow the adviced post length, which should never be less than 300 words but not more than 2000 words. Shorter posts around 1000 words will be favored by search engines while longer posts over 1500 words usually get more re-shares on social. Pay some extra attention to your best performing blog posts and you will notice they probably are around the 1K word count.
E-books & guides
E-books and guides are usually more niche-specific and offer great value for those interested in the subject. They require a bit more effort to create but if done the right way, these are a great way to exchange value content for your visitor’s contact information (and drive them deeper down your funnel). The content can be in any format, text, infographic, video, slideshow, as long as the content is desired, people will give you information about themselves to get their hands on that content. If you think back, you might have handed out your name and e-mail to quite a few in order to get that “must-have” guide.
Demos are great, especially if you offer a service and want showcase what you have to offer and keep the users on your site for a longer time (we’ll get deeper into the importance of that later). Show your demo straight on the site or drive your users to book a meeting with you. Keep in mind that the Demo (i.e. your product/service) should be presented in such an interesting way, users get an urge to visit your site to know more.
E-mail marketing might seem like an outdated tactic but it’s not. It’s a great way to connect with existing users, remind them of the fact that you exist, tell them about new content or offers you have available and send them over to your website for more information. A smart mix is to announce on social media that you have exclusive content to share which is accessible on the website by simply submitting your e-mail.
2. Social Media
I don’t think anyone can argue with the fact that you need to be on social. There are soon closer to 3 billion users on social media today and there are so many ways you can utilize different platforms in order to gain attention and attract people to your site.
With organic social media, you can raise brand awareness, boost blog posts and engage with your community. A good thing to keep in mind is that a follower and a lead is not the same thing, and just like with the quality of your traffic, the quality of your followers on social media plays a huge role in your success. From a business point of view, you might benefit from paid social media more, since you can reach a larger audience outside your existing following squad and you can target who to reach at a specific time. Social media offers a huge amount of different tactics and strategies to acquire users. Which strategy you end up implementing depends a lot on your industry and targeting audience. When using social media for user acquisition, focus on using it to drive people to your website, whether it’s through re-shares or paid ads is up to you to decide.
3. Search Engine Marketing
There are two types of search engine marketing (SEM) you can do, paid and organic (SEO). Both ways are effective in terms of attracting clients, but you should not choose one or the other, preferably do both alongside for the best results. In this example, we are using Google as an example of SERP (search engine result page) but naturally, this applies to other search engines as well. Basically, in search, you aim to reach as high on the search placement as possible and drive visitors who really are looking for what you have to offer. For example, if you manage to get the first position on Google’s search page but people who are looking for flower deliveries end up on your ad or website (which offers help with monetization) you are doing SEM all wrong. In search marketing, always think of it as a way to help your potential customers find you.
Optimizing your site is a relatively easy way to maximize organic traffic (and it’s free). Make sure your all your content and blog are optimized and with this we mean that you are using smashing industry keywords (also in the title), adding alt texts on every image, paying attention to the headline and content length, adding meta descriptions everywhere and as a result you will see a difference in traffic. Internal and especially external linking is very hot and if you want to go all-in, add transcripts for all video and audio content you provide. There are tons and tons of information on best practice SEO. If you feel it’s too complicated, invest the money in having someone helping you get started.
Paid search is aiming for the same goal as SEO, but in this case, you buy your way up to the top position through PPC. You use your keywords to bid on ad placements in the sponsored ad section. Here again, Google is the most popular PPC system available. You can do a lot with money but you can’t (always) buy your way to that top position. Google is looking at your site’s click-through rate, quality, and relevance before letting you buy that spot. Therefore it’s important your site is of good quality and you are doing SEO right before you invest your budget in paid search ads. When you do decide to invest in paid search, make sure you are using the correct keywords and copy to attract a relevant target group.
Testimonials, case stories, referral programs. Your (happy) customers might be your single best promoters out there. Nothing is as trustworthy as an honest review of someone’s service or product. Connect that with social media and someone’s opinion can go very viral. If you want to go above and beyond and develop a referral system, make sure you have incentives that are tempting enough for your users to refer further. Quora, the popular question-and-answer website is also a great way to get other’s to raise awareness about your service, i.e. most likely visit your site as well.
5. Site settings & Analytics
Make sure your site is accessible from all device formats (mobile, web, tablet), since it’s difficult to gain visitors if they load time is so long the visitor never gets to see your content. Especially first-time visitors have a very limited timeline of patience when it comes to accessing your content.
Follow your analytics
Learn from your mistakes (and success). Check your website traffic regularly and repeat the actions that seem to attract more visitors. But don’t be lazy. It’s equally important to stay creative and innovative so you attract new visitors and keep the existing ones excited.
Phew, that was a lot to take in. Unfortunately, it does not end here. Now that you know how to attract visitors to your site and get those visitor numbers skyrocketing, you need to keep them there in order to profit from the traffic you have managed to get to your site. In the third and final post of this mini-series, we will dig deeper into how you can extend your session length and keep visitors on your site for as long as possible, since not only does the quality and amount of traffic matter, their level of engagement and session length matters as well.
Happy monetizing until then and talk to you soon.